By Kevin Maloney
Jones College Sports Information
EUNICE, La. – Kat Wallace's (Brookhaven) leadoff single in the top of the 7th helped jumpstart a six-run frame, and Lauren Lindsey's (Mobile, Alabama) three-run home run put the finishing touches on the Bulldogs as No. 2 Jones defeated No. 9 Gulf Coast 9-3 to claim the region championship Sunday afternoon at LSUE's Lady Bengal Field.
It's the fourth NJCAA Region 23 Championship since 2016 for Jones, and they'll be making their seventh NJCAA Division II World Series trip in nine seasons.
The Bobcats outlasted four other Top 20 programs over the four-day tournament, defeating No. 5 Itawamba, No. 8 Copiah-Lincoln and No. 9 Gulf Coast in consecutive days.
Jones (43-7) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, plating two runs in the top of the first on an RBI-single by Lindsey and wild pitch that scored Kristian Edwards (Laurel).
Breley Boykin (Jackson Prep) and Sterling James (DeSoto Central) kept MGCCC off the board through five.
Tia'Rain Saunders' (Choctaw Central) RBI-single scored Meagan Wynne (Richland) in the sixth to make it 3-0 Bobcats.
Back-to-back one-out singles for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth setup the game-tying home run two batters later. Briana Shores sent a three-run shot over the wall in left-center to tie the game at 3-3 after six.
MGCCC (33-14) went to the bullpen for Emaleigh Coates after a leadoff single by Wallace in the seventh, and Jones would greet her with five runs on six hits to take a commanding 9-3 lead.
Tyesha Cole (Philadelphia) doubled home Wallace for the go-ahead run, followed by Lindsey's three-run home run and RBIs from Wynne and Saunders.
James then worked around a two-out single to close out her 15th win of the year. She scattered three runs on four hits with six strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Boykin tossed 1.2 scoreless to start the game.
Jones pounded out 13 hits, with the top of the lineup going 7-for-12 with five RBIs and five runs scored. Lindsey was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a triple shy of the cycle.
Next up for Jones is the NJCAA Division II World Series May 25-29 at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Alabama. The Bobcats will find out their first-round opponent in the coming days.